Death row convict in Nirbhaya case claims mental illness in SC, Centre says he has sound mind
NEW DELHI :
The top court deferred the hearing for today on the Centre’s plea seeking separate execution of four convicts and asked all the condemned prisoners to file their replies by then
ONE of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case claimed in the Supreme Court on Thursday that while rejecting his mercy plea the President did not consider his mental illness following torture in jail, an allegation denied by the Centre saying “he is fit and has sound mind”. Vinay Sharma through his counsel made a last ditch effort to escape from the gallows claiming that all the relevant records were not brought before the President including that he had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment in jail due to which he had developed mental illness.
The Centre however opposed his claim and produced a medical report dated February 12 which said he was fit and had a sound mind. The top court deferred the hearing for Friday on the Centre’s plea seeking separate execution of four convicts and asked all the condemned prisoners to file their replies by then. The bench said that it is listing the matter for Friday at 2 PM for final hearing and all the convicts in the case shall file their replies to Centre’s plea by then. SC also rejected Sharma’s counsel A P Singh’s request to peruse the original file of recommendation made by the Lieutenant Governor and Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain for rejection of his mercy petition.
Singh contended that signatures of Delhi Home Minister and LG were not obtained on the original files recommending rejection of mercy petition of Sharma. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and NCT of Delhi, opposed the arguments of Singh and said that signatures were obtained on the original files and submitted the documents for the perusal of the court. The bench after rejecting the request of Singh asked him to continue with his arguments while making him clear that judicial review of rejection of mercy petition by President has a very limited scope and the court has only to see whether there was proper application of mind.
Singh said that all relevant materials were not before the President, who rejected the mercy petition within 48 hours of filing of the plea. “The President did not consider that Sharma has been subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prison, as a result of which he experienced grave mental trauma and even developed mental illness for which he has received psychiatric treatment in prison,” Singh said, adding that mental illness is one of the ground to commute his death sentence. Nirbhaya convicts entitled to exhaust legal remedies: Court: A DELHI court on Thursday adjourned till February 17 hearing on a petition seeking issuance of death warrant in Nirbhaya rape case, observing that condemned convicts are entitled to exhaust their legal remedies and it cannot afford to ignore their fundamental rights. “Article 21 protects the life and liberty of condemned convicts till last breath.
The condemned convicts are entitled to exhaust the legal remedies and the court cannot afford to ignore their fundamental rights,” Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana said. SC appoints senior advocate to represent convict Pawan in Nirbhaya case: THE Supreme Court on Thursday appointed senior advocate Anjana Prakash to represent one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case who was unrepresented after dropping his earlier lawyer. A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna appointed Prakash as amicus curiae to represent the convict, Pawan Kumar Gupta. “On behalf of respondent Pawan Gupta, we requested Anjana Prakash, senior counsel, to be amicus curiae to assist the court in the case of Pawan Gupta.
Anjana Prakash has graciously agreed to appear and advance arguments to assist the court in the matter of Pawan Gupta,” the bench said in its order. Prakash had earlier appeared for convict Mukesh Kumar Singh, who had challenged rejection of his mercy plea by the President. The top court had dismissed his plea. The bench took note of the order of trial court passed on Wednesday in which it had asked the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to provide Pawan’s father with a list of empanelled advocates to choose from to represent the convict. Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for convict Mukesh, said that trial court listed the matter for hearing a plea of jail authorities seeking fresh date of execution and it would be appropriate, if the matter in top court is taken up on Friday. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre and Delhi Government, said there is no change the status of the convicts since the last date of hearing on Tuesday as no one has moved any mercy or curative petition till now as directed by Delhi High Court. Gupta is the only convict in the case who has not filed a curative petition — the last legal remedy available to a person. He also has the option of filing a mercy plea against the death sentence.